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Publication numberUS20050017614 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/873,418
Publication dateJan 27, 2005
Filing dateJun 21, 2004
Priority dateJun 23, 2003
Publication number10873418, 873418, US 2005/0017614 A1, US 2005/017614 A1, US 20050017614 A1, US 20050017614A1, US 2005017614 A1, US 2005017614A1, US-A1-20050017614, US-A1-2005017614, US2005/0017614A1, US2005/017614A1, US20050017614 A1, US20050017614A1, US2005017614 A1, US2005017614A1
InventorsPaul Cirocco, Cirile Regalado
Original AssigneePaul Cirocco, Regalado Cirile Dominique
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Split lock arm for three-piece slide assembly
US 20050017614 A1
Abstract
A slide assembly including at least a first slide segment and a second slide segment. A bearing assembly is provided between the segments to facilitate sliding movement therebetween. A split lock arm attached to the first slide segment includes a first arm and a second arm. The first arm has a notch, and the second arm has a notch and an angled portion. The notches receive and lock a stop of the second slide segment when the second slide segment is moved to a fully extended state relative to the first slide segment. The second slide segment is releasable from the fully extended state by actuating a spring-biased release member such that the release member engages the angled portion of the second arm. The release member is configured to bias the second arm such that the notch is moved out of alignment with the stop. Accordingly, retraction of the second slide within the first slide is permitted. Simultaneously, the notch on the first arm remains in alignment with the stop and prevents unintentional removal of the second slide segment from the first slide segment.
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Claims(18)
1. A slide assembly, comprising:
a first segment;
a second segment telescopically engaged with said first segment;
a stop fixed for movement with said second segment, said stop defining a first stop surface and a second stop surface;
a controller comprising a first arm and a second arm, said first arm secured to said first segment at a first end and extending in a first direction to a second end, said first arm defining a first engagement surface configured to contact said first stop surface to inhibit further movement of said first slide segment relative to said second slide segment in said first direction, said second arm secured to said first segment at a first end and extending in said first direction to a second end, said second arm defining a second engagement surface configured to contact said second stop surface to inhibit further movement of said first slide segment relative to said second slide segment in said second direction.
2. The slide assembly of claim 1, said second arm including a third engagement surface configured to contact said first stop surface and cooperate with said first engagement surface of said first arm to inhibit movement of said first slide segment relative to said second slide segment in said first direction.
3. The slide assembly of claim 1, wherein said first and second arm are interconnected by a base at said respective first ends.
4. The slide assembly of claim 1, wherein said first and second arms are constructed from a resilient material and said second ends thereof are biased, in a relaxed position of said arms, relatively closer to said second slide segment than said first ends.
5. The slide assembly of claim 1, wherein said second arm includes a tab angled relative to a remainder of said second arm, said tab configured to contact said stop and bias said second arm toward said first slide segment to permit said second end of said second arm to pass over said stop.
6. The slide assembly of claim 1, further comprising a release actuator configured to move said second arm toward said first slide segment to release said second engagement surface from said second stop surface to permit said first slide segment to move in said second direction.
7. The slide assembly of claim 1, wherein said release actuator is moveable along a longitudinal axis of said first slide segment.
8. The slide assembly of claim 1, further comprising a release actuator configured to move toward said first slide segment to release said first engagement surface from said first stop surface to permit said first slide segment to further move in said first direction.
9. A slide assembly, comprising:
a first segment;
a second segment telescopically engaged with said first segment;
a stop fixed for movement with said second segment, said stop defining a first stop surface and a second stop surface;
a controller comprising a base, a first arm and a second arm, said base secured to said first segment and each of said first arm and said second arm integrally connected to said base and a first end and extending from said base to a second end, said first arm defining a first engagement surface configured to contact said first stop surface to inhibit further movement of said first slide segment relative to said second slide segment in a first direction, said second arm secured to said first segment at a first end and defining a second engagement surface configured to contact said second stop surface to inhibit further movement of said first slide segment relative to said second slide segment in a second direction, wherein said first and second arms do not overlap said base.
10. The slide assembly of claim 9, wherein said first and second arms extend from said base in a same direction.
11. The slide assembly of claim 9, wherein said first ends and said base are substantially coplanar.
12. The slide assembly of claim 9, said second arm including a third engagement surface configured to contact said first stop surface and cooperate with said first engagement surface of said first arm to inhibit movement of said first slide segment relative to said second slide segment in said first direction.
13. The slide assembly of claim 9, wherein said first and second arm are interconnected by a base at said respective first ends.
14. The slide assembly of claim 9, wherein said first and second arms are constructed from a resilient material and said second ends thereof are biased, in a relaxed position of said arms, relatively closer to said second slide segment than said first ends.
15. The slide assembly of claim 9, wherein said second arm includes a tab angled relative to a remainder of said second arm, said tab configured to contact said stop and bias said second arm toward said first slide segment to permit said second end of said second arm to pass over said stop.
16. The slide assembly of claim 9, further comprising a release actuator configured to move said second arm toward said first slide segment to release said second engagement surface from said second stop surface to permit said first slide segment to move in said second direction.
17. The slide assembly of claim 9, wherein said release actuator is moveable along a longitudinal axis of said first slide segment.
18. The slide assembly of claim 9, further comprising a release actuator configured to move toward said first slide segment to release said first engagement surface from said first stop surface to permit said first slide segment to further move in said first direction.
Description
RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/525,582, filed Nov. 26, 2003 and U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/480,664, filed Jun. 23, 2003, the entire contents of which is hereby expressly incorporated by reference herein and made a part of this specification.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to slide assemblies and, more particularly, to a lock mechanism for a slide assembly.

2. Description of the Related Art

Computer servers for computer systems are often mounted in rack structures for convenience and to conserve floor space. Typically, several computer servers are spaced vertically and mounted in each rack structure. To facilitate access to the individual servers for maintenance or upgrades, each server is typically mounted on a pair of slide assemblies to allow the server to slide into and out of the rack structure.

Typical slide assemblies comprise two or more telescoping slide segments. An outer or stationary slide segment is mounted to a frame of the rack structure, and an inner or load-carrying slide segment is mounted to the server. The stationary slide segment is usually C-shaped and defines a channel in which the inner slide segment is slidable to extend or retract the slide assembly. A ball-bearing assembly may be positioned within the channel, between the inner and outer slide segments, to facilitate sliding movement of the inner slide segment with respect to the outer slide segment. In other arrangements, direct contact between the outer slide segment and the inner slide segment may occur, which is often referred to as a solid-bearing slide assembly.

Many slide assemblies additionally include an intermediate slide segment that interconnects the stationary slide segment and the load-carrying slide segment and allows a length of extension greater than the length of any individual segment, thus allowing a rack-mounted server to extend beyond the confines of the rack structure for increased access. Many slide assemblies further contain a lock-out mechanism to maintain the position of the server computer once the slide assembly is fully extended. The lock-out feature conveniently allows the slide assembly to remain securely extended while performing work on the computer.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One aspect of a preferred embodiment involves a slide assembly comprising a stationary, outer slide segment, an intermediate slide segment, and inner slide segment. Preferably, a bearing assembly is provided between the segments to reduce friction therebetween. A split lock arm is attached to the inner slide segment and includes a first arm and a second arm. The first arm defines a first notch, and the second arm defines a second notch and an angled portion. Preferably, the first and second notches cooperate to receive an engagement surface of the intermediate slide segment when the inner slide segment is moved to a fully extended state relative to the intermediate slide segment. In one preferred embodiment, the inner slide segment is releasable from the fully extended state by actuating a release member to disengage the second arm from the engagement surface and permit the inner slide segment to be retracted relative to the intermediate slide segment. In one arrangement, the release member comprises an elongated member adapted to contact the angled portion of the second arm and bias the second arm away from the intermediate slide member to disengage the second notch from the engagement surface. While the inner slide segment may be retracted into the intermediate slide segment upon disengagement of the second arm from the engagement surface, the first notch on the first arm prevents removal of the inner slide segment from the intermediate slide segment. Accordingly, inadvertent removal of the inner slide segment from the slide assembly is avoided.

One preferred embodiment is a slide assembly including a first segment and a second segment telescopically engaged with the first segment. A stop is fixed for movement with the second segment. The stop defines a first stop surface and a second stop surface. The slide assembly further includes a controller which has a first arm and a second arm. The first arm is secured to the first segment at a first end and extends in a first direction to a second end. The first arm defines a first engagement surface configured to contact the first stop surface to inhibit further movement of the first slide segment relative to the second slide segment in the first direction. The second arm is secured to the first segment at a first end and extends in the first direction to a second end. The second arm defines a second engagement surface configured to contact the second stop surface to inhibit further movement of the first slide segment relative to the second slide segment in the second direction.

In another embodiment, a slide assembly includes a first segment and a second segment telescopically engaged with the first segment. A stop is fixed for movement with the second segment, the stop defining a first stop surface and a second stop surface. The slide assembly further comprises a controller comprising a base, a first arm and a second arm. The base is secured to the first segment and each of the first arm and the second arm is integrally connected to the base and a first end and extends from the base to a second end. The first arm defines a first engagement surface configured to contact the first stop surface to inhibit further movement of the first slide segment relative to the second slide segment in a first direction. The second arm is secured to the first segment at a first end and defines a second engagement surface configured to contact the second stop surface to inhibit further movement of the first slide segment relative to the second slide segment in a second direction. The first and second arms are adapted to not overlap the base.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention are described with reference to drawings of a preferred embodiment, which are intended to illustrate, but not to limit, the present invention. The drawings include twenty-three (23) figures.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of a slide assembly.

FIG. 2 illustrates an exemplary-use environment of the slide assembly of FIG. 1, wherein two of the slide assemblies of FIG. 1 cooperatively carry a server computer within a server rack.

FIGS. 3A-3C are schematic views of the slide assembly of FIG. 1, illustrating one embodiment of a sequence of extension of the individual segments comprising the slide assembly.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the slide assembly of FIG. 1, taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a portion of an intermediate slide segment and bearing assembly of the slide assembly of FIG. 1, with a latch illustrated in a first position.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a portion of an inner slide segment and a split lock arm of the slide assembly of FIG. 1.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a portion of the inner slide segment and a portion of the intermediate slide segment of the slide assembly of FIG. 1, with the inner slide segment detached from the intermediate slide segment.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a portion of the inner slide segment and the forward ends of the intermediate slide segment and outer slide segment of the slide assembly of FIG. 1, with the split lock arm of the inner slide segment engaging a stop surface of the intermediate slide segment.

FIGS. 9A-9C illustrate one embodiment of an elongated release member configured to actuate the split lock arm of FIG. 6.

FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view of the inner slide segment taken along line 10-10 of FIG. 6.

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of the forward ends of the intermediate slide segment and the inner slide segment of the slide assembly of FIG. 1, with the split lock arm of the inner slide segment disengaged from the stop surface of the intermediate slide segment and showing a front-release lock of the elongated release member.

FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional view of the slide assembly of FIG. 1, taken along line 12-12 of FIG. 11.

FIG. 13A is an elevational view of a portion of the inner slide segment of the slide assembly of FIG. 1, showing a front-release lock assembly wherein the elongated release member is biased into a proximal position relative to the forward end of the inner slide segment.

FIG. 13B is an elevational view of the portion of the inner slide segment of FIG. 13A, showing the elongated release member in a distal position relative to the forward end of the inner slide segment, such as when a force is applied to a forward end of the release member.

FIG. 14 is a perspective view of an actuator of the slide assembly of FIG. 1.

FIG. 15 is an elevational view of the forward end of the intermediate slide segment of the slide assembly of FIG. 1.

FIG. 16 is a perspective view of a portion of the inner slide segment and a portion of the intermediate slide segment of the slide assembly of FIG. 1, showing the attachment of the actuator to the intermediate slide segment.

FIG. 17 is a cross-sectional view of a portion of the inner slide segment and a portion of the intermediate slide segment of the slide assembly of FIG. 1, taken along the line 17-17 of FIG. 16.

FIG. 18 is a perspective view of a portion of the intermediate slide segment of the slide assembly of FIG. 1, with the latch shown in a position releasing the bearing assembly.

FIG. 19 is a perspective view of a portion of an outward-facing side of the slide assembly of FIG. 1, illustrating manual operation of the actuator.

FIG. 20 is an elevational view of a portion of the outer slide segment and the rear end of the intermediate slide segment of the slide assembly of FIG. 1, with a pivot arm of the intermediate slide segment in abutting engagement with a stop surface of an actuator of the outer slide segment.

FIG. 21 is a perspective view of a portion of the outward-facing side of the outer slide segment of the slide assembly of FIG. 1, illustrating the actuator.

FIG. 22 is an elevational view of a portion of the outer slide segment and the rear ends of the inner and intermediate slide segments of the slide assembly of FIG. 1, with the pivot arm disengaged from the stop surface of the actuator.

FIG. 23 is an elevational view of a portion of the outer slide segment and the rear ends of the inner and intermediate slide segments of the slide assembly of FIG. 1, with the pivot arm engaged with a notch in the inner slide segment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

I. Reference to Prior Applications

A preferred embodiment of a slide assembly is illustrated in FIG. 1 and is designated generally by the reference numeral 12. Preferably, except as disclosed herein, the slide assembly 12 is substantially similar to the slide assemblies taught in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/254,826, entitled FRONT RELEASE FOR SLIDE ASSEMBLY, filed on Sep. 25, 2002, and U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/480,664, entitled SPLIT LOCK ARM FOR THREE-PIECE SLIDE ASSEMBLY, filed Jun. 23, 2003. The above-mentioned patent application and provisional patent application are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety herein and made a part of this specification.

II. Preferred Embodiment of a Slide Assembly

With reference to FIG. 1, preferably, the slide assembly 12 comprises a first or inner slide segment 16, a second or intermediate slide segment 18, and a third or outer slide segment 20. The inner slide segment 16 generally is adapted for mounting to a chassis, drawer, or other load, such as a server computer, for example. The outer slide segment 20 generally is adapted for mounting to a stationary structure, such as, by way of example, an outer case, cabinet, or rack structure.

FIG. 2 illustrates an exemplary use environment wherein a server computer 10 is supported by a pair of slide assemblies 12. In the illustrated embodiment, each server computer 10 is supported in the server rack 14 by a pair of slide assemblies 12, one on either side of the server computer 10, to allow the server computer to slide in and out of the server rack structure. In another embodiment, however, the server computer 10 may be supported by one slide assembly 12, centered below the server computer 10, to allow the server computer to slide in an out of the server rack structure. Thus, the slide assembly 12 may be mounted in either a vertical orientation, as described herein, or a horizontal or other non-vertical orientation.

The three-segment structure of the slide assembly 12 permits the server computer 10 to be extended beyond the confines of the server rack 14 and is particularly helpful in providing a secure position in which to perform maintenance on the server computer 10. It is to be noted, however, that the slide assembly 12 described herein is not adaptable solely to the operating environment depicted in FIG. 2. Additional applications and environments will be readily apparent to those of skill in the art including the support of various types of loads, varying mounting locations, such as opposing sides, undermount, or above mounted slide assemblies, and the like. Furthermore, the present split lock arm may be adapted for use in connection with two-segment slide assembly or, alternatively, a slide assembly having more than three segments.

FIGS. 3A-3C illustrate one embodiment of a sequencing arrangement for the extension of the slide assembly 12. As illustrated schematically in FIGS. 3A and 3B, preferably, the intermediate slide segment 18 and the inner slide segment 16 extend from the outer slide segment 20 as a unit until the intermediate slide segment 18 reaches substantially full extension. Only once the intermediate slide segment 18 reaches a substantially fully extended state relative to the outer slide segment 20 is the inner slide segment 16 permitted to extend with respect to the intermediate slide segment 18. FIG. 3C schematically illustrates the inner slide segment 16 in a fully extended state relative to the intermediate slide segment 18 and the outer slide segment 20.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the slide assembly 12 of FIG. 1, taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 1. With reference to FIGS. 1 and 4, preferably, the outer slide segment 20 has a generally C-shaped cross-section and comprises an upper wall 24, a lower wall 26, and a planar side wall 28 extending between the upper and lower walls 24, 26. Each of the upper and lower walls 24, 26 define an arcuate bearing surface 32. The bearing surfaces 32 generally face inward toward a central longitudinal axis of the slide assembly 12. A longitudinal channel 36 is defined by the bearing surfaces 32 and a planar inner surface of the side wall 28.

The intermediate slide segment 18 preferably also has a generally C-shaped cross-section and comprises an upper wall 40, a lower wall 42, and a side wall 44 extending between the upper and lower walls 40, 42. Each of the upper and lower walls 40, 42 of the intermediate slide segment 18 define an arcuate inner bearing surface 46 and an arcuate outer bearing surface 48. The inner bearing surfaces 46 face toward, and the outer bearing surfaces 48 face away from, the central longitudinal axis of the slide assembly 12. A longitudinal channel 56 is defined by the inner bearing surfaces 46 and an inner surface of the side wall 44.

Like the outer slide segment 20 and the intermediate slide segment 18, the inner slide segment 16 preferably also has a generally C-shaped cross-section and comprises an upper wall 60, a lower wall 62, and a side wall 64 extending between the upper and lower walls 60, 62. Each of the upper and lower walls 60, 62 defines an arcuate bearing surface 68. The bearing surfaces 68 of the inner slide segment 16 face outward, or away from the central longitudinal axis of the slide assembly 12.

The intermediate slide segment 18 is positioned in the channel 36 of the outer slide segment 20 so that the bearing surfaces 32 of the outer slide segment 20 are located adjacent to the outer bearing surfaces 48 of the intermediate slide segment 18. A bearing assembly 74 is positioned between each bearing surface 32 of the outer slide segment 20 and the adjacent to the outer bearing surface 48 of the intermediate slide segment 18. In the illustrated embodiment, each bearing assembly 74 comprises a thin, elongated, generally planar bearing spacer 76 and a number of spherical ball bearings 78. The ball bearings 78 are retained by the bearing spacer 76 in spaced-apart openings formed along the length of the bearing spacer 76. This is an example of one type of preferred bearing spacer, although bearing spacers having alternative configurations are contemplated. The ball bearings 78 roll against the bearing surfaces 32, 48 to facilitate longitudinal sliding movement of the intermediate slide segment 18 with respect to the outer slide segment 20. As will be appreciated, the bearings 78 are retained in the openings of the spacer 76 by the bearing surfaces 32, 48.

Referring still to FIGS. 1 and 4, the inner slide segment 16 is positioned in the channel 56 of the intermediate slide segment 18 so that the bearing surfaces 68 of the inner slide segment 16 are located adjacent to the inner bearing surfaces 46 of the intermediate slide segment 18. A bearing assembly 80 is positioned in the channel 56 between the inner slide segment 16 and the intermediate slide segment 18 to facilitate longitudinal sliding movement of the inner slide segment 16 with respect to the intermediate slide segment 18. In the illustrated embodiment, the bearing assembly 80 comprises a bearing retainer 84 and a number of spherical ball bearings 86.

The bearing surfaces 32 of the outer slide segment 20, the inner and outer bearing surfaces 46, 48 of the intermediate slide segment 18, and the bearing surfaces 68 of the inner slide segment 16 desirably are concave. Such an arrangement prevents lateral separation of the intermediate slide segment 18 from the outer slide segment 20, and of the inner slide segment 16 from the intermediate slide segment 18.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a portion of the intermediate slide segment 18 with the bearing assembly 80 positioned in the channel 56 and the inner slide segment 16 removed for the purpose of clarity. In the illustrated embodiment, the bearing retainer 84 comprises an upper retainer portion 92, a lower retainer portion 94, and a side portion 96 interconnecting the upper and lower retainer portions 92, 94. The bearing retainer 84 is seated in the channel 56 so that the upper and lower retainer portions 92, 94 are located adjacent to the inner bearing surfaces 46, and the side portion 96 is located adjacent to the inner surface of the side wall 44.

A transverse ridge 98 extends between the upper and lower retainer portions 92, 94, preferably at a forward end of the bearing retainer 84. Desirably, the transverse ridge 98 is defined by a surface of the side portion 96 of the bearing retainer 84 that faces the intermediate slide segment 18 and is offset toward the intermediate slide segment 18 relative to the remainder of the side portion 96. The ridge 98 may be an indented section of the side portion 96 or may comprise a thickened section of the side portion 96. The ridge 98 permits the bearing assembly 80 to be secured in a desired position relative to the intermediate slide segment 18, as is described in greater detail below. Alternative arrangements may be used in the place of the above-described ridge 98, as will be apparent to one of skill in the art upon review of the function of the ridge 98 described in greater detail below.

Preferably, each of the upper and lower retainer portions 92, 94 comprises a number of tabs 97 that extend generally perpendicularly to the side portion 96 of the bearing retainer 84. Each tab 97 has a circular opening 100 provided therein to accommodate one of the ball bearings 86. The diameter of the openings 100 preferably is less than the diameter of the ball bearings 86 to trap the ball bearings 86 between the tabs 97 and the inner bearing surfaces 46 of the intermediate slide segment 18. The bearing assembly 80 desirably is movable along the length of the channel 56 of the intermediate slide segment 18. This allows the ball bearings 86 to roll along the inner bearing surfaces 46 of the intermediate slide segment 18 as the inner slide segment 16 is moved within the channel 56.

III. Preferred Embodiment of a Split Lock Arm

FIGS. 6 and 7 illustrate the inner slide segment 16 of the slide assembly 12, which supports a controller, or split lock arm 170. As shown, the split lock arm 170 comprises a thin, planar steel strip that is attached at a first end 172 to the inner surface of the side wall 64 of the inner slide segment 16. The first end 172 of the split lock arm 170 preferably forms a base of the split lock arm 170 and is attached to the side wall 64 by a pair of tabs 163. Preferably, the tabs 163 are monolithically formed from the side wall 64 of the inner slide segment 16 and extend through a pair of openings 165 in the first end 172 of the lock arm 170. The ends of the tabs 163 are deformed into an enlarged portion, or head, to retain the lock arm 170 to the inner slide segment 16. Alternatively, other methods may be used to secure the split lock arm 170 to the inner slide segment 16, such as passing screws or rivets through the opening(s) 165, for example.

Extending from the first end 172, the split lock arm 170 also includes a resilient first arm 234 and a resilient second arm 236 that angle slightly away from the side wall 64. The arms 234, 236 extend toward a forward end of the inner slide segment 16 to a second end 174 of the split lock arm 170. The first arm 234 includes a notch 237, preferably located near the second end 174 of the split lock arm 170. The notch 237 defines an engagement surface 237 a, which faces a forward end of the inner slide segment 16.

The second arm 236 includes an angled portion 173, which is angled inwardly toward the inner surface of the side wall 64 and defines a contact surface, preferably configured for contact with a release member, as is described in greater detail below. The second arm 236 also defines a notch 238, which preferably is positioned to a rearward side of the angled portion 173 and faces the notch 237 of the first arm 234. Preferably, the notch 238 defines a pair of engagement surfaces 238 a, 238 b. The first engagement surface 238 a faces a forward end of the inner slide segment 16 and the second engagement surface 238 b faces a rearward end of the inner slide segment 16. The notches 237, 238 together form an opening 176 near the second end 174 of the split lock arm 170.

The arms 234, 236 of the split lock arm 170 desirably can each be flexed independently inwardly toward the side wall 64 of the inner slide segment 16, without affecting the other arm, and then allowed to resiliently return to its original position. An opening 178 is provided in the side wall 64 of the inner slide segment 16 adjacent to the second end 174 of the lock arm 170. When the arm 236 is fully flexed toward the side wall 64, preferably, the angled portion 173 of the split lock arm 170 extends into the opening 178.

Referring to FIG. 7, the intermediate slide segment 18 includes a stop 188. In the illustrated embodiment, the stop 188 is a bridge-like structure located immediately forward of an end portion 132 of an actuator 124. The stop 188 desirably is raised relative to the side wall 44 of the intermediate slide segment 18, in a direction toward the inner slide segment 16. Each of a forward side and a rearward side of the stop 188, define a stop surface 188 a, 188 b, respectively, which interact with the engagement surfaces 237 a, 238 a, 238 b, as described in greater detail below.

With reference to FIGS. 7 and 8, preferably, the shape of the opening 176 formed by the notches 237, 238 of the split lock arm 170 generally corresponds to the shape of the stop 188. The split lock arm 170 is biased toward the side wall 44 of the intermediate slide segment 18 so that, when the inner slide segment 16 is extended with respect to the intermediate slide segment 18, the split lock arm 170 engages the stop 188 and, when the inner slide segment 18 is fully extended, the stop 188 is positioned within the opening 176 of the split lock arm 170. When the stop 188 is positioned within the opening 176, the biasing of the split lock arm 170 positions the engagement surfaces 237 a, 238 a, 238 b adjacent the stop surfaces 188 a, 188 b. As a result, movement of the inner slide segment 16 with respect to the intermediate slide segment 18 is prevented until one or both arms 234, 236 of the split lock arm 170 are moved toward the inner surface of the inner slide segment 16, against its resilient biasing force, to remove the stop 188 from within the opening 176.

Preferably, to permit retraction of the inner slide segment 16 relative to the intermediate slide segment 18, the arm 236 is moved toward the side wall 64 of the inner slide segment 16 so that the engagement surface 238 b is no longer adjacent the stop surface 188 a. As a result, retraction of the inner slide segment 16 is permitted. However, removal of the inner slide segment 16 from the intermediate slide segment 18 is inhibited due to the engagement surface 237 a still being located adjacent the stop surface 188 b. Accordingly, unintentional disconnection of the inner slide segment 16 from the remainder of the slide assembly 12 is prevented. To permit removal of the inner slide segment 16 from the intermediate slide segment 18, both arms 234, 236 are moved toward the inner slide segment 16 so that both the engagement surfaces 237 a, 238 a, 238 b are no longer adjacent the stop surfaces 188 a, 188 b. A number of suitable actuator(s) may be provided to permit selective movement of the arms 234, 236 in the manner described above. Preferred actuators for moving only the arm 236, and for moving both arms 234, 236, are described in greater detail below.

IV. Preferred Embodiment of a Slide Lock Release Arrangement

As shown in FIG. 6, preferably the inner slide segment 16 supports an elongated release member 200 and a biasing arrangement 311. The release member 200 and biasing arrangement 311 function as an actuator to facilitate releasing the inner slide segment 16 from the fully extended state shown and described in connection with FIGS. 7 and 8. The elongated release member 200 is slidably received within the channel 66 of the inner slide segment 16. Preferably, the biasing arrangement 311 biases the release member 200 toward a forward end of the inner slide segment 16, as shown in FIG. 6.

With reference to FIGS. 9A-9C, the illustrated elongated release member 200 is advantageously formed of a body of polymeric material having a low coefficient of friction such that it can easily slide within the channel 66. Examples of suitable polymeric materials include polyethylene, polypropylene, or acetyl. In addition, other suitable materials may also be used, including non-polymeric materials, as will be appreciated by one of skill in the art. As shown in FIG. 4, the channel 66 is formed by upper wall 60, lower wall 62, and an interconnecting side wall 64 of the inner slide segment 16. Because the upper and lower walls 60, 62 have concave outward-facing surfaces and convex inward-facing surfaces with respect to the channel 66, preferably the release member 200 has edges 202 that are beveled to allow the release member 200 to be slidably captured within the channel 66, as shown in FIG. 6.

The release member 200 further comprises a bottom sliding surface 206 having a longitudinal groove 204 formed therein. Preferably, the groove 204 spans the length of the release member 200. The longitudinal groove 204 provides a clearance space to permit the release member 200 to slidably pass over fasteners, such as rivets or screws, that may be mounted through the side wall 64 of the inner slide segment 16. In the illustrated arrangement, a front edge 208 of the release member 200 is chamfered such that a surface 210 facing the intermediate slide segment 18 is longer than the opposing surface 206.

The release member 200 includes an opening 309 with a flexible arm 313 supported therein, preferably in plane with the release member body 200. Preferably, the flexible arm 313 is formed during the molding of the release member body 200 such that the arm 313 and the release body 200 form a unitary member. However, in alternative arrangements, the arm 313 may be a separate member attached to the release member 200 by a suitable method.

As shown in FIG. 13A, a channel 317 formed in the inner slide segment side wall 64 receives a cam follower 315 disposed at an end of the arm 313. Preferably, a lower surface of the channel 317 defines a cam surface and the arm 313 biases the cam follower 315 into contact with the cam surface. The biasing force of the arm 313 may be produced by the arm itself, due to the resiliency of the material from which the release member 200 is constructed. Preferably, however, a biasing member, such as an L-shaped leaf spring 321, biases the flexible arm 312 so that the cam follower 315 contacts the lower cam surface of the channel 317.

Preferably, the channel 317 is substantially linear and angled with respect to a longitudinal axis of the inner slide segment 16 such that a forward end of the channel 317 is lower than a rearward end of the channel 317 (with respect to the orientation shown in FIGS. 13A and 13B). Accordingly, the biasing force of the arm 313 and/or spring 321 urges the cam follower 315 toward the lower, forward end of the channel 317. As a result, the release member 200 is urged toward a forward end of the inner slide segment 16 in a relaxed position of the arm 313 and/or spring 321.

The forward end of the lower, cam surface of the channel 317 desirably includes a depression, or detent portion 323. The detent advantageously retains the elongated release member 200 in its forward position relative to the inner slide segment 16, as shown and discussed in connection with FIG. 6. Thus, to move the release member 200 in a rearward direction, the resistance provided by the detent, in addition to the resistance provided by the arm 313 and/or spring 321, must be overcome. Advantageously, incidental movement of the release member 200 is reduced, if not entirely eliminated.

Preferably, the cam follower 315 includes an enlarged, circular portion 315 a. The circular portion 315 a is offset from a plane occupied by the arm 313, in a direction toward the side wall 64 of the inner slide segment 16. Desirably, at least an upper portion of the circular portion 315 a extends above the upper surface of the arm 313. Accordingly, the leaf spring 321 is prevented from moving out-of-plane with the arm 313, in a direction toward the inner slide segment 16, by the circular portion 315 a. Advantageously, such an arrangement provides a cost-efficient, reliable biasing mechanism for the release member body 200.

With reference to FIGS. 9A-C, desirably, the release member 200 further includes a flange 214 on a forward end thereof. The flange 214 is configured to provide a push surface 216 providing an increased surface area to receive an actuating force 319 applied by a user of the slide assembly 12.

During initial assembly, the release member 200 is inserted into the inner slide segment channel 56. The draft angle of the side walls 202 and the correspondingly shaped inner slide segment upper and lower walls 60, 62 maintain the slide segment 200 in sliding engagement with the inner slide segment 16 and disallow removal except by sliding. That is, the release member 200 is inhibited from being removed from the inner slide segment 16 in a direction transverse to the longitudinal axis of the slide segment 16.

FIGS. 10-12 illustrate the release member 200 installed into the inner slide segment 16. As shown in FIG. 10, the chamfered front edge 208 of the release member 200 does not engage the angled portion 173 of the split lock arm 170 because the biasing arrangement 311 maintains the release member 200 in a forward position within the channel 66 of the inner slide segment 16. During operation, however, as the release member 200 is pushed in a rearward direction by an actuating force 319 toward the split lock arm 170 (FIG. 13B), the chamfered front edge 208 contacts, and then slides over, the angled portion 173, resiliently depressing the arm 236 toward the side wall 64 of the inner slide segment 16.

As the arm 236 is depressed, the notch 238 is biased away from the stop 188 (FIG. 7) of the intermediate slide segment 18. The stop 188 disengages from the notch 238 once the angled portion 173 is pushed sufficiently toward the side wall 64, thereby allowing the inner slide segment 16 to be retracted into the intermediate slide segment 18, as shown in FIG. 3B. The inner slide segment 16 and the intermediate slide segment 18 can then be retracted into the outer slide segment 20 as shown in FIG. 3A.

It is to be noted that although the chamfered front edge 208 engages the angled portion 173 of the arm 236, allowing the inner slide segment 16 to be retracted into the intermediate slide segment 18, the notch 237 of the arm 234 remains in contact with the stop 188, preventing the inner slide segment 16 from being removed from the intermediate slide segment 18. Thus, applying the actuating force 319 to the release member 200 allows the inner slide segment 16 to be retracted into the intermediate slide segment 18, but, preferably, does not allow the inner slide segment 16 to be disconnected from the slide assembly 12.

Advantageously, the release member 200 provides access to the release mechanism at the front of the slide assembly 12, such that a user is not required to reach toward the rear of the inner slide segment 16. This offers a tremendous convenience because the technician can see the release flanges 214 while in front of the server computer 10 and does not have to reach around the server computer 10 and feel for the release flanges 214. Moreover, since the actuating force 319 required to operate the release mechanism is in the same direction as a retracting force on the server computer 10, by applying a sufficient force to each release member 200, a technician can unlock the slide assemblies 12 and retract the server computer 10 with a single motion.

Advantageously, the illustrated biasing arrangement 311 is configured to reset the release member 200 upon cessation of the actuating force 319. As illustrated in FIG. 13B, when the force 319 is applied to the flange 214 of the release member 200, the release member is moved out of the detent 323 and in a rearward direction toward the rearward end of the channel 173, overcoming the biasing force of the arm 313 and/or spring 321. Once the force 319 is removed, the spring 321 and/or the flexible arm 313 exert counter forces on the cam follower 315. In response, the cam follower 315 slides on the lower, cam surface of the channel 317 toward a forward end thereof, thereby moving the release member 200 toward a forward end of the inner slide segment 16, until the cam follower 315 returns to a position within the detent 323, as shown in FIG. 13A.

Thus, a simple to manufacture, assemble, and operate front release mechanism is provided that preferably (1) is fully contained within the channels of the slide segments, (2) is accessible from the front of the slide assembly 12, and (3) resets automatically upon removal of the actuating force.

Although the illustrated slide assembly embodiments include an inner slide segment 16, an intermediate slide segment 18, and an outer slide segment 20, it is to be noted that the locking and release mechanisms described herein can be incorporated in slide assemblies having two or more slide segments. Thus, the locking and release mechanisms can be incorporated in slide assemblies having more than one intermediate slide segment, or no intermediate slide segment.

V. Preferred Embodiment of a Slide Controller Arrangement

With reference to FIG. 14, one embodiment of an actuator assembly, or controller 120, for the slide assembly 12 is shown. In the illustrated embodiment, the controller 120 comprises an actuator 124 and a latch 126. This actuator 124 embodiment comprises a thin (in a transverse direction), planar, cantilevered primary arm 128 having an end portion 132 of increased thickness. The thickness of the end portion 132 preferably is greatest near a front end of the controller 120. The end portion 132 desirably has rounded comers 134 and a groove 136 formed in the center thereof.

The latch 126 comprises a thin, planar, cantilevered secondary arm 138 having a raised locking portion 140 at a front end thereof. The locking portion 140 includes a generally planar sloping front face 142 and a generally planar sloping rear face 144. Desirably, the front face 142 extends a slightly greater distance above the planar surface of the secondary arm 138 than does the rear face 144. In the illustrated embodiment, a recess 146 is formed between the front face 142 and the rear face 144. The recess 146 is defined between a front locking surface 150 and a rear locking surface 152.

The controller 120 desirably is formed of a stiff yet flexible material to allow the primary and secondary arms 128, 138 to flex or bend, and resiliently return to position. Preferably, the controller 120 is formed of a resilient, durable, low-friction plastic material, such as acetal. Alternatively, however, other suitable materials may be used, including non-plastic materials, for example.

The forward end of the intermediate slide segment 18 is shown in FIG. 15. As illustrated, an opening 156 is provided in the side wall 44 of the intermediate slide segment 18 near the forward end thereof. The controller 120 is positioned behind the side wall 44 so that the end portion 132 of the actuator 124 and the locking portion 140 of the latch 126 are in registration with the opening 156. The controller 120 is attached to an outer surface of the side wall 44 by suitable means, such as a pair of rivets 158 (see FIG. 16) that extend through openings formed in a side of the controller 120 opposite the end portion 132.

Referring again to FIG. 5, the latch 126 is illustrated in a first position, wherein the planar surface of the actuator 124 rests against the outer surface of the side wall 44 of the intermediate slide segment 18. The locking portion 140 of the latch 126 extends through the opening 156 in the side wall 44 and into the channel 56 of the intermediate slide segment 18.

To ensure proper operation of the latch 126, the front face 142 desirably forms an angle α with a plane parallel to the plane of the side wall 44 of between 10 and 80 degrees when the latch 126 is in the first position illustrated in FIG. 5. More desirably, the angle α is between 30 and 45 degrees. Preferably, the angle α is 38 degrees. The rear face 144 likewise desirably forms an angle γ with a plane parallel to the plane of the side wall 44 of between 10 and 80 degrees when the latch 126 is in the first position illustrated in FIG. 5. More desirably, the angle is γ is between 15 and 30 degrees. Preferably, the angle γ is 25 degrees. The front and rear locking surfaces 150, 152 preferably are disposed generally perpendicularly to the side wall 44 when the latch is in the first position.

One embodiment of the latch 126 serves to retain the bearing assembly 80 near the forward end of the channel 56 when the inner slide segment 16 is removed from the intermediate slide segment 18. When the latch 126 is in the first position illustrated in FIG. 5, the locking portion 140 extends into the channel 56 and contacts the side portion 96 of the bearing retainer 84. The transverse ridge 98 of the bearing retainer 84 is captured between the front locking surface 150 and the rear locking surface 152. Rearward movement of the bearing assembly 80 is limited by the rear locking surface 152. Forward movement of the bearing assembly 80 is limited by the front locking surface 150. With the bearing assembly 80 retained near the front of the channel 56, it is easier to guide the rearward end of the inner slide segment 16 past the forward end of the bearing assembly 80 as the inner slide segment is inserted into the channel 56.

With reference to FIG. 7, preferably, a guide member 153 is positioned between the bearing retainer 84 and the forward end of the intermediate slide segment 18. As described above, the bearing retainer 84 preferably is secured near a forward end of the intermediate slide segment 18 upon removal of the inner slide segment 16. The guide member 153 is configured to extend between the bearing retainer 84 and the forward end of the intermediate slide segment 18 to assist in aligning the inner slide segment 16 with the bearing assembly 80 upon reinsertion of the inner slide segment 16 into the intermediate slide segment 18.

The illustrated guide member 153 includes a pair of generally cylindrical guide portions 154 extending lengthwise within upper and lower ends of the channel 66 defined by the intermediate slide segment 18. Each of the guide portions 154 preferably have a diameter of a similar dimension as a diameter of the ball bearings 86 and a length generally equal to the distance between the forward end of the bearing assembly 80 and the forward end of the intermediate slide segment 18. A bridge portion 155 interconnects, and properly spaces, the pair of guide portions 154. Preferably, the guide member 153 is constructed of a plastic material and is configured to snap into place within the channel 66 of the intermediate slide segment 18.

With reference to FIGS. 7 and 17, one advantage of the slide assembly 12 presented herein is that it does not require a separate manual operation to lock or unlock the bearing assembly 80. When the inner slide segment 16 is inserted and moved rearwardly in the channel 56, the first arm 234 of the split lock arm 170 contacts the front face 142 of the latch 126 of the controller 120. This causes the latch 126 of the controller 120 and, specifically, the secondary arm 138 to flex away from the side wall 44 of the intermediate slide segment 18. In this second latch position, illustrated in FIGS. 17 and 18, the locking portion 140 does not engage the transverse ridge 98 of the bearing retainer 84. The bearing assembly 80 is therefore free to move in the channel 56, typically along with movement of the inner slide segment 16.

As the inner slide segment 16 is moved forward in the channel 56, the bearing assembly 80 is moved toward the latch 126. When the inner slide segment 16 is removed from the channel 56, the transverse ridge 98 of the bearing retainer 84 contacts the rear face 144 of the latch 126, causing the latch 126 to move to the second latch position, wherein the secondary arm 138 is flexed away from the side wall 44 of the intermediate slide segment 18. The transverse ridge 98 rides over the rear face 144 of the latch 126 and into the recess 146 to lock the bearing assembly 80 in place again.

In accordance with one embodiment, to remove the inner slide segment 16 from the channel 56 of the intermediate slide segment 18, the arms 234, 236 of the split lock arm 170 are moved toward the side wall 64 of the inner slide segment 16, preferably by manually pressing the actuator 124 towards the split lock arm 170, as shown in FIG. 19. This prevents the inner slide segment 16, and the attached server computer 10, from unintentionally being detached from the rest of the slide assembly 12 and possibly causing damage to the server computer 10. By moving both of the arms 234, 236 of the split lock arm 170 toward the side wall 64, the opening 176 of the split lock arm 170 is released from the stop 188, and the inner slide segment 16 can then be removed from the channel 56. Advantageously, a rearward end of the release member 200 is positioned forwardly of a forward end of the split lock arm 170. Thus, access to the split lock arm 170 by the actuator 124 is permitted when the release member 200 is in its forward-most position.

VI. Preferred Embodiment of a Slide Sequencing and Lock Arrangement

With reference to FIG. 20, the slide assembly 12 desirably also includes a lock arrangement 389 for locking the intermediate slide segment 18 in an extended position with respect to the outer slide segment 20. In the illustrated embodiment, the lock 389 comprises a pivot arm 390 that is pivotally attached by a rivet 391, or other suitable fastener, to the side wall 44 of the intermediate slide segment 18. Preferably, the pivot arm 390 comprises a generally planar main portion 392, which is aligned with the side wall 44 of the intermediate slide segment 18. The pivot arm 390 rotates about an axis perpendicular to the side wall 44. A forward end of the pivot arm 390 includes a hook 303 and a rearward end of the pivot arm 390 includes a tab 393. The tab 393 extends toward the side wall 28 of the outer slide segment 20 through an opening 394 provided in the side wall 44 of the intermediate slide segment 18.

With reference to FIGS. 20 and 21, an actuator 395 desirably protrudes from the side wall 28 of the outer slide segment 20 toward the intermediate slide segment 18. In the illustrated embodiment, the actuator 395 is generally arrow-shaped, having a tip 396, a rearward-facing sloping surface 397, and a forward-facing stop surface 398, which extends generally perpendicularly to a longitudinal axis of the slide assembly 12.

When the intermediate slide segment 18 and the inner slide segment 16, together, are fully extended with respect to the outer slide segment 20, as shown in FIG. 3B, the tab 393 is brought to a forward side of the stop surface 398. In such a position, preferably, the hook 303 rests on the inner surface of the lower wall 62 of the inner slide segment 16, such that the tab 393 does not engage the stop surface 398 and the inner and intermediate slide segments 16, 18 are permitted to retract relative to the outer slide segment 20. However, if the inner slide segment 16 is extended with respect to the fully extended intermediate slide segment 18, the hook 303 no longer contacts the inner slide segment 16 and the pivot arm 390 is rotated by a spring 301 such that the tab 393 shifts upwardly (as shown in FIG. 20) within the opening 394. This brings the tab 393 into abutting engagement with the stop surface 398, and thus prevents retraction of the intermediate slide segment 18 with respect to the outer slide segment 20.

To release the pivot arm 390 from the stop surface 398, the inner slide segment 16 is retracted with respect to the intermediate slide segment 18, as illustrated in FIG. 22. As the inner slide segment 16 is retracted, the rear end of the inner slide segment 16 slides over a forward end of the hook 303 and rotates the pivot arm 390 to move the tab 393 downwardly within the opening 394 to a position below the stop surface 398. This releases the tab 393 the pivot arm 390 from the stop surface 398 and permits the intermediate slide segment 18 and the inner slide segment 16 to be retracted together with respect to the outer slide segment 20.

With reference to FIG. 23, in some instances, pulling forwardly on the inner slide segment 16 may cause the inner slide segment 16 to move relative to the intermediate slide segment 18 before the intermediate slide segment is fully extended. As illustrated in FIG. 23, when the inner slide segment 16 is extended with respect to the intermediate slide segment 18 before the intermediate slide segment 18 is fully extended, the pivot arm 390 is rotated by the spring 303 such that the hook 303 shifts downwardly into a slot 161 defined by the lower wall 62 of the inner slide segment 16. This locks the inner slide segment 16 to the intermediate slide segment 18, causing the segments 16, 18 to extend together.

If the inner and intermediate slide segments 16, 18 are extended with respect to the outer slide segment 20 a sufficient distance, the tab 393 of the pivot arm 390 contacts the actuator 395. With further extension of the intermediate slide segment 18, the tab 393 rides over the sloping surface 397 of the actuator 395 and then rotates into abutting engagement with the stop surface 398. In this position, the intermediate slide segment 18 is locked in the fully extended state, as described above. Further, when the pivot arm 390 is rotated due to the tab 393 moving over the sloping surface 397, the hook 303 is withdrawn from the notch 161, thus allowing the inner slide segment 16 to be extended with respect to the intermediate slide segment 18.

Although this invention has been disclosed in the context of certain preferred embodiments and examples, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that the present invention extends beyond the specifically disclosed embodiments to other alternative embodiments and/or uses of the invention and obvious modifications and equivalents thereof. In addition, while a number of variations of the invention have been shown and described in detail, other modifications, which are within the scope of this invention, will be readily apparent to those of skill in the art based upon this disclosure. It is also contemplated that various combinations or subcombinations of the specific features and aspects of the embodiments may be made and still fall within the scope of the invention. Accordingly, it should be understood that various features and aspects of the disclosed embodiments can be combined with or substituted for one another in order to form varying modes of the disclosed invention.

Referenced by
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US7365970 *Mar 2, 2005Apr 29, 2008Hong Fu Jin Precision Industry (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd.Bezel mounting assembly
US7477525 *Sep 22, 2006Jan 13, 2009Bull SasSystem for maintaining an assembly of three parts in position that exerts a predetermined compressive force on the intermediate part
US7571968Nov 9, 2006Aug 11, 2009Central Industrial Supply CompanyFront release lock with disconnect lock for a drawer slide
US7794029 *Aug 14, 2007Sep 14, 2010Hong-Fu Jin Precision Industry (ShenZhen) Co., Ltd.Ball bearing slide assembly
US8147011 *Dec 4, 2009Apr 3, 2012King Slide Works Co., Ltd.Slide assembly
US8500223 *Jul 27, 2011Aug 6, 2013Accuride International, Inc.Slide assembly with dual handed ball retainer latch
US20120027325 *Jul 27, 2011Feb 2, 2012David Laniado LacarraSlide assembly with dual handed ball retainer latch
US20120176739 *Sep 9, 2011Jul 12, 2012Aten International Co., Ltd.Lock structure and control mechanism and method thereof
US20140265792 *Mar 18, 2013Sep 18, 2014Nan Juen International Co., Ltd.Pres-control type sliding rail assembly
EP2682024A1 *Jul 3, 2012Jan 8, 2014King Slide Works Co., Ltd.Slide rail assembly
WO2010060724A1 *Oct 29, 2009Jun 3, 2010Paul Hettich Gmbh & Co. KgPull-out guide
Classifications
U.S. Classification312/333
International ClassificationA47B88/08
Cooperative ClassificationA47B2210/0059, A47B2210/0037, A47B2210/0081, A47B88/08
European ClassificationA47B88/08